Pumpkin Spiced Muffins – cajun rub fried turkey

I share this recipe last year but it was so good that I thought it was worth repeating. Plus I am sitting on a beach drinking tasty adult beverages and haven’t made anything sweet and delicious to share and maybe you have a can or two of pumpkins lying around. It may last till next year’s Thanksgiving but why chance it.

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I do hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving. This year I did things a little different. I made mashed potatoes and mashed sweet potatoes first thing in the morning and put each in my slow cookers to keep warm. I buy 2 smaller birds versus one enormous one, I find I have better luck having juicy meat instead of dry. This year I was on the fence on how to cook them. literally the morning of Thanksgiving I held a meeting with all in the kitchen on how to cook my two 10 pound birds. consensus was fry one and spatchcock the other. I knew that the fried one needed A LOT of spices and I needed to get going so it had time to soak in. I took the other and started to spatchcock also know as removed the backbone.  FYI it was much harder to remove than when I remove it from a roaster chicken.
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Both birds turned out great, but the cajun spice rub I put on the fried bird was amazing!

Rub
1/4 cup chili pepper
1/4 cup paprika
1/4 cup ground black pepper
2 tablespoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoon onion powder
1 1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
1 1/2 tablespoon cayenne pepper

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spatchcock

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cajun rubbed fried

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Pumpkin Spiced Batter – preheat oven to 350’F


1 package yellow cake mix
1 package vanilla pudding mix
1 cup canned pumpkin
½ cup oil
½ cup water
3 eggs
1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp vanilla extract

Put all the ingredients into a bowl and with an electric mixer on low speed beat just till moistened. Move up to medium for a couple of minutes. Spoon batter into 24 paper-lined muffin cups. Fill each cup about ⅔ full

Bake for about 20 minutes. Frost cooled cupcakes with the spiced cream cheese frosting.

Spiced Cream Cheese Frosting
1 package (8oz) cream cheese – softened
¼ cup butter – softened
1 tsp vanilla extract
¼ tsp ground cloves

Add to bowl and beat until light and fluffy, gradually add 1 (16oz) box of confectioners sugar.

 

 


Recipe by : McCormick & Co

Bark – chocolate, pistachios, craisins

There is nothing more surprising to me when someone walks up to me or sends me a message to ask a question or make a suggestion about what I blogged about last week or last month. Or when someone I’ve never met makes a comment, hits the like button or starts to follow me.  Thank you for all who reach out, I truly appreciate it and you for taking the time out of your crazy life to acknowledge little ole me.  I am pretty proud of this weekly delve into my food and sometimes personal journey!
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I talked with my daughter about doing a blog of some sort with her for a few years until I finally pulled the trigger on writing about one of both of our passions. While it ended up being more of my food blog I do share this journey with her as she is my strongest supporter, she is my sounding board, my technical adviser, my social media guru and a huge inspiration – thanks sweetie!
IMG_5483So I have been trying to make things a little healthier around here for me and my family but sometimes you just have to have something that just totally rocks – good bad or indifferent I just have to share this ridiculously easy treat that I can’t believe I have never made before.
IMG_5485I saw it a few weeks ago, I can’t even remember where; TV, Magazine, Online I have no idea but I literally went to the kitchen and threw it together.  And I guiltily have made it at least a half dozen times since. Though my first few times were with semi sweet chocolate, almonds and craisins my brilliant daughter called me on her way to work with a batch for her co-workers and said “White Chips, Pistachios, Craisins” if you have never had this combination in anything you need to stop reading this and make SOMETHING – ANYTHING with this combo. We discovered them, well at least in my house, when we made the biscotti recipe I blogged about awhile back. I think they are magical together and this bark is crazy good!
IMG_5490Spoiler alert some of my close peeps that follow my blog might just be seeing some for a little Christmas love this year!

1 cup chips melted – your choice
Dried fruit chopped
Nuts chopped

Yeah its that easy!
IMG_54861 cup white chips melted in the microwave – takes a minute or so
½ cup Dried craisins – chopped a little smaller
½ cup Pistachios – chopped a little smaller

Spread the melted chocolate onto either parchment or if you are lucky enough to have a silpat mat; if you don;t ask for one or two for Christmas, Birthday, Thanksgiving or even Wednesday.

Sprinkle your toppings and place in the fridge till it hardens.  Break apart and enjoy!
IMG_5489I’ll give you the macros for the 2 I have been making; but they are not great. OK! am back I just made a batch so I could give the most accurate measurements.  You’re welcome and Thank you 🙂

Macros = 1 ounce white bark
210 Calories – 11 g Fat – 24 g Carbs – 3 g Protein
Macros = 1 ounce semi-sweet bark
243 Calories – 13 g Fat – 24 g Carbs – 4 g Protein

Almond Flour Blondies

I am a huge impulse buyer – KP stop laughing! My girlfriend KP gives me crap all the time for picking up something obscure and totally not what we were out shopping for. The area around the register is pretty dangerous for people like me; lucrative for the store though.
IMG_5279My daughter had made a few almond crust lemon curd tarts awhile back, at the time we couldn’t find almond flour in our little town so she had to make her own; she is so clever. So when I was out shopping and came across a large bag of Almond flour sitting at the end of an aisle I grabbed it.
IMG_5268Since I made this impulse purchase she hasn’t made any tarts; so now what am I supposed to do with it? Oh and I forgot to mention that I was at my club store when I “found” the bag so you might be getting a clearer picture that the bag I bought was a 10 pound bag of almond flour Yikes!
IMG_5271Since Almond flour is crushed almonds it is a little on the sweet side so I think it would only be good for something sweet; though I haven’t explored what to do with it extensively that is the way I am going with it.  I made an almond flour blondie that is sooooo good.  The only noticeable difference I found was that my blondie while ooey and gooey, it was also a little crumbly but that hasn’t stopped me from making them again.
IMG_5274Almond Flour Blondie

½ cup butter
¾ cup brown sugar
½ cup white sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoon vanilla
1 ¾ cup almond flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup white chocolate chips
½ cup chopped pecans (optional)

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If you need to soften your cold butter; slice it into smaller pieces it will soften quicker

Preheat the oven to 350F. Lightly grease a 9×13 pan.
Using a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugars. Add eggs and vanilla and mix on high till they become light and fluffy. Takes about 3 minutes.
Add the flour, baking powder and salt. Mix until everything is incorporated. Stir in the chips and nuts if you are using them.
Pour the dough into the greased baking dish. Smooth the dough and bake for 20-30 minutes or until golden brown. Cool for 15-20 minutes slice and enjoy!
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Cannoli Dip

I have been sitting here for the last 2 hours trying to come up with an appetizer that I can bring to a party that we are attending tonight. Some of you might think since I have a weekly food blog that this wouldn’t be such a hard thing to figure out. It probably wouldn’t be had I not put so many; I guess I will call them restrictions; well that might be kind of a harsh word for it. It’s more like guidelines or parameters. Firstly because I do blog about food there is this expectation that what I bring is going to be simply delicious and it better not be store bought. I was also hoping that maybe it would be something worth blogging about.

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Here were my parameters.  I am not bringing a crockpot, It has to be able to be served at room temperature. It has to be pick up and go, It cannot be “messy” as in I wanted it to be self-contained; meaning no tail to throw away as in shrimp cocktail. No bones plate for wings you get the drift. I also wanted it to be on a plate or tray that I can leave and not care about if I never see it again; I have plenty of these from my parties. Oh and I also mentioned to my daughter, that just came down, that I am fairly certain that there will be plenty of chips, dips and salsas to go around so you can see my dilema!

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In talking it out with my daughter I confirmed that it would be “legal” to bring something sweet instead of a savory app. When I think of apps I think don’t usually think of sweets. The invites were through FB and the only thing I saw posted as what to bring was to bring an app. I figured if the 50+/- people all saw the same thing and think along the same lines as I do; most will be savory and only a small few might be sweet.

Well I have decided to make the biscotti I blogged about last week. I wanted to make it again anyway and I feel everyone needs to try it; it is amazing and what better way to share it than to bring it to a potluck party filled with mostly people I know and care about. Since I already blogged/bragged about them I needed to come up with a recipe to share with all of you so I am bringing back a simple but yummy and a crowd pleaser.  

Cannoli Dip

1 brick cream cheese softened
2 cups ricotta
1 ½ cups confectioners sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup + (some for sprinkling on top) mini chocolate chips

Cannoli chips I found mine at my local grocery store – you can substitute waffle cones or sugar cones

Beat together the ricotta and cream cheese till smooth; add the vanilla and sugar and mix well.  Add the cup of chips and sprinkle a little on top.

Let it set up in the fridge for an hour or so.  You can leave out the chips and add them as you want them,  The chips will get softer the longer it takes you to eat the dip. That’s if you and your guests don’t finish it off. 

Pumpkin Spiced Muffins

Last week my coworkers very kindly made me some treats for my birthday. One of the treats was pumpkin spiced muffins with a cream cheese frosting. They were in my opinion just plain awesome. I believe the exact words out of my mouth were “where have these been all my life?”  Super moist, not too much pumpkin flavor and just the right amount of spice.

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They were so good I asked for the recipe and made them last night for the Christmas party we went to. The recipe makes 24 cupcakes and is so easy to make there is no reason to not make them. I brought most of the batch to the party and left the rest at home. They came out of the oven too late for me to frost at home so I put the frosting into a piping bag and quickly frosted them when we arrived at the party.
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Unfortunately I didn’t even get to try mine. My husband put them away when we got home and when I finally came down stairs this morning, my wonderful dog; whom I have dubbed our ungrateful rescue; had the container off the counter onto the floor and had his way with them. So they are people approved AND dog approved.
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The only reason I am “explaining” this is I never got a final picture of the muffins finished thanks to my dog and I will take some of the blame, I had a little too much to drink at the party and didn’t help last night or this morning to keep them “safe”

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Pumpkin Spiced Batter – preheat oven to 350’F


1 package yellow cake mix
1 package vanilla pudding mix
1 cup canned pumpkin
½ cup oil
½ cup water
3 eggs
1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp vanilla extract

Put all the ingredients into a bowl and with an electric mixer on low speed beat just till moistened. Move up to medium for a couple of minutes. Spoon batter into 24 paper-lined muffin cups. Fill each cup about ⅔ full

Bake for about 20 minutes. Frost cooled cupcakes with the spiced cream cheese frosting.

Spiced Cream Cheese Frosting
1 package (8oz) cream cheese – softened
¼ cup butter – softened
1 tsp vanilla extract
¼ tsp ground cloves

Add to bowl and beat until light and fluffy, gradually add 1 (16oz) box of confectioners sugar.

 


Recipe by : McCormick & Co

Christmas Sugar Cookie

Tis the season for craziness – I’ve always wondered why we; I assume we and it’s not just me. Try to fit a few months worth of shopping, baking and cooking into 3 +/- weeks.
I always say I am going to start earlier, not do so much, not spend so much, simplify simplify simplify. I make lists; check them twice, OK at least a dozen times and I still seem to end up running around and spending too much.

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The house is super close to being decorated, we still need to get the tree and decorate the porch. If it wasn’t so cold outside I would have done it this weekend. I think I’ll leave the porch to my husband; he is used to working outside.
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We haven’t had our annual cookie making day yet, but I did find a sugar cookie recipe that I just had to try. I think what partly sold me was the picture they had with the recipe, they decorated their cookies with white and lite blue icing. My dining room decorations are the same blue and white and they looked super cool.

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LOVE my white tree – just saying


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The cookie recipe was easy to make and tasted excellent. I tried to decorate my cookies with the same white and blue icing. While they don’t look professional like theirs, mine are most definitely mine and I can only imagine mine taste just as delicious as theirs.
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Ultimate Christmas Cookie
Makes about 5 dozen 3 inch cookies – preheat  oven to 385 degrees (first thing I have ever made at this temperature)

2 ¼ cups sugar
2 tsp salt
½ cup shortening
½ cup butter – softened
3 TBS corn syrup
2 large eggs
¾ cup heavy cream
1 TBS vanilla extract
7 cups cake flour
2 TBS baking powder

Cream the first five ingredients until smooth. Add eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl.
Add cream and vanilla and mix slightly. Sift the cake flour and baking powder and add to the mix. Making sure to not over mix.
Chill dough overnight, working in quarters, roll out to ¼ inch thickness and cut out shapes using cookie cutters of any shape.
If you don’t have time to decorate with icing you can brush a little milk on each cookie and sprinkle with sugar.
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Icing – 2 cups of sugar with a little milk, it should be thick and just thin enough so it flows out of a pastry bag. if you want color; separate the icing into different bowls. add a drop of two of the color you are looking for.

Bake for 10 minutes – be careful to not over bake – cookies should be lightly baked and will be crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.
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recipe: NHMagazine Dec 2016

Apple Cider Doughnuts

Tis the season for fresh apple cider! I am not a huge fan of drinking cold apple cider, I do like warm cider and cooking with cider is delicious. My guys were working a few towns away and went by a cafe in the middle of nowhere that made cider doughnuts that they raved about. Of course it took them a few months to actually bring me one home. Honestly they were just OK – I was told by the guys that “they needed to be eaten first thing in the morning when they were fresh”  Well that wasn’t going to happen for me.

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This was a couple of years ago. A week or so ago my daughter brought home some store made cider doughnuts that were just plain terrible; there was an after taste. I figured maybe I just plain ole didn’t like cider doughnuts. On Halloween my company put out some hot and cold cider and again some cider doughnuts. Third times a charm – NOPE it was not. You would think I would just give up – not me; I had some cider in the fridge that wasn’t going to last too much longer. I decided to make my own cider doughnuts. Voila’ success – finally a cider doughnut that has great flavor, fairly easy and I finally get to taste a cider doughnut that I got to finish.
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mine was very wet – I had to use more flour on my hands and board

The only problem I had was I don’t own a doughnut cutter nor a fryer. I looked a few places for a cutter, no luck. I try not to fry too much but when I do I always use my dutch oven; it can handle the high heat. I have a ridiculous amount of cookie cutters. I riffled through them and for a 3” round cutter; now I needed a small round cutter for the hole in the center. For the people reading this that know me really well; they are going to LOVE this. The smallest and closest thing I had to a small circle was a tiny frog cutter. Since I was little I have always collected frogs; I have moved away from the mass produced ones to ones that are unique funky and pretty cool. Making in happen here in NH – just saying.
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Apple Cider Doughnuts

Ingredients:
2 cups cider
3 cups all-purpose flour
½ cup whole wheat flour
⅔ cup packed brown sugar
2 tsp baking powder
¾ tsp salt
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp of each cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg and ground cardamom
2 large eggs
6 Tbs butter, melted and cooled
Oil for deep frying

img_4668Directions:
In a small saucepan, bring cider to a rapid boil and cook over high heat until reduced by half – cool completely

In a large bowl, whisk flours, brown sugar, salt, soda, powder and spices. In a small bowl whisk eggs, melted butter and cooled cider. Stir into dry ingredients until moistened (dough is pretty sticky). Cover and put in the fridge for at least an hour, you want the dough firm enough so you can shape the doughnuts.


Divide dough in half, on a floured surface pat each portion to ½ inch thickness; make sure to flour your hands and cutter(s) cut out about a dozen doughnuts.


Heat oil to 365’ and fry a few at a time. 1 minute on each side or until golden brown. Fry holes a few at a time approx. 1 minute on each side. Drain and cool slightly. Using a paper lunch bag; if you have one on hand; add some cinnamon and sugar and enjoy!

 

 

Recipe adapted – Taste of Home